Lovin’ Lately (May 29, 2020)

Today I feel a bit meh. It’s probably due to the fact that it’s a long week-end due to today being the Friday we don’t have day activities and Monday being second Pentecost here. I don’t like long week-ends. I’m too inactive then.

That being said, I did discover a few things I’m loving lately. Let me share. I’m doing this in the classic editor again, as somehow the block editor would automatically convert my stuff to a list when I didn’t want it to.

1. Podcasts. On Wednesday, I wrote that I’d been listening to a playlist on Spotify mostly as well as an audiobook on Scribd. That evening though, through another blogger, I was inspired to try out podcasts. Unlike audiobooks, I actually love these.

I particularly love listening to true crime podcasts. Seriously, I had no idea there’s so much evil in this world that there’s a whole category of podcasts dedicated to it. Parcast Network has a ton of interesting podcasts.

Aside from true crime, I decided to look at what else is on. I discovered Parcast has a podcast called Mythology too. It was awesome listening to the most recent episode.

2. Music. Well, I said this already on Wednesday, but the Pop Warm-Up 130 BPM playlist on Spotify is great. I’m truly loving dancing to it.

3. Essential oils and fragrances. On Wednesday, my essential oil diffuser somehow decided to bite the bullet. Its on/off switch is stuck, so I cannot get it working. I asked for a new one for my birthday. Still, my husband will be looking at this one to see if he can fix it.

This did get me looking at lots of new fragrances I may want to buy. I have a lot already, but you can never have enough of those.

4. Coffee. I gave my coffee cups to the staff a few days ago because I was having impulses to break them and injure myself with the shards. This morning though, I felt a little low and in need of some caffeine. I got one of my cups and made myself a Senseo coffee. It was lovely sitting in my recliner listening to the Mythology podcast while drinking some coffee.

5. Tomatoes. A staff who’s been on sick leave for half a year or so, returned today for a few hours. When she was still working at my home, we’d built this tradition of her bringing me snack tomatoes, which I kept in a tomato-shaped box I’d gotten from her. Today she continued the tradition. I loved it.

What are you lovin’ lately?

Linking up with Friday Favorites and the Lovin’ Life Linky.

Gratitude List (May 16, 2020) #TToT

Goodnight everyone. It’s past 11PM here and I can’t sleep. I’m feeling rather hopeless. To cheer myself up, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. It feels like forever since I last did a gratitude list, even though I did one two weeks ago. Anyway, here goes.

1. Spotify playlists. I already mentioned the Cardio playlist on Thursday. Today, I discovered the Harp Music for Sleep playlist. It wasn’t created by Spotify staff, but whoever created it is awesome! I just tried falling asleep to it. That didn’t work yet, but it definitely helped me relax.

2. Lorazepam. As we speak, I’m recovering from a rather bad crisis. After an hour-long crying fit, I finally asked the staff to give me a PRN lorazepam and it helps at least a little.

3. Dancing. I mentioned this already on Thursday. Today I was in a rather low place and felt like lying in bed all day. I did manage to fit some dancing in though.

4. Pretty good food this past week. I had boiled potatoes only once and the pasta with tuna sauce I had today was truly delicious.

5. Whipped cream custard. To top it off, we had whipped cream custard for dessert today.

6. Insight Timer. Like I said earlier today, I plan on making meditation part of my daily routine. I listened to a body love meditation this evening. The instructor’s voice was a little off to me, but it was a great meditation.

7. A lovely card. Last Thursday, I got another card from the friend who lives in another home in our care facility. She had previously given me an Easter card. Now the card had written in it that she hopes to see me soon. (For context: due to COVID-19, we are currently only allowed to interact with clients and staff for our own homes.) The card was handmade and truly lovely. I will send her one (though not handmade) probably tomorrow.

8. Possibly seeing my husband soon. Currently, we are not allowed visitors at all due to COVID-19. Management though has said they’ll work out a plan on visiting next week. This may mean we need to see our visitors in an assigned room and may need to keep our distance, but anything is better than no visits at all.

This is all I can come up with right now, but it already helps. What have you been thankful for lately?

Thankful Thursday (May 14, 2020): Dancing!

I’ve been feeling kind of depressed lately. Or rather, less non-depressed than I was over the past month. I’m not sure how “normal” feels, being that I’ve struggled with depression off and on (and mostly on) since childhood. I was finally thinking I could be inspired and motivated for a while, but that while has stopped now I think. I hope my creativity and motivation return soon.

When I shared about my mood on an E-mail support list yesterday, some people responded by saying I could focus my attention on what I can do rather than what I can’t. Like, even a day without blogging mojo was frustrating me, even though in other areas, I’m pretty much my normal self. I’m still honestly pretty active. I’m not sleeping 15 hours a day. Okay, I slept nearly 12 hours last night, but I barely got eight the nights before. So as sort of a pick-me-up, I’m joining in with Thankful Thursday and the reason I’m thankful today is my level of physical activity.

You see, I reached my goal of 10K steps today! If this doesn’t prove that I’m fine, I don’t know what does. I went for two longer walks during the day and a short walk in the evening. I’ve also been “dancing” some. By this I mean walking in place and swinging my arms while music is playing. I have absolutely no sense of rhythm, but so what? I put the Cardio playlist on Spotify on and just moved. I honestly really loved it.

Besides getting me active, this helped me discover new music. You know, I normally only listen to classic country and some other oldie stuff. I can’t stand most of the workout playlists on Spotify, but Cardio was an exception. I loved it! Here’s one of the songs I listened to several times.

Do you like to dance?

Gratitude List (May 2, 2020) #TToT

It’s been forever since I did a gratitude post. Right now I’m feeling a little frustrated with the fact that I am blind. I want to participate to the fullest in the social media thing, but it seems images are often required and I can’t do them. Other blind people apparently can, but I can’t. Anyway, to cheer myself up, I’m taking part in Ten Things of Thankful or #TToT. Here’s what I’ve been grateful for lately.

1. The beautiful weather last week. Okay, it’s been raining a lot this week, but last week-end, it was sunny and warm. I loved it!

2. Being able to take regular walks in spite of the bad weather this week. Somehow, my staff and I managed to find time inbetween rainstorms to go for some walks. Yesterday and today, I even took some late evening walks after most of the other clients were in bed.

3. Making plans for more activities I can do with my day activity staff. On Monday, we will be trying out a basic oatmeal recipe with banana. I remember my sister ate oatmeal for breakfast when she was little and I didn’t like it. I hope I like it with the banana added. I’ve also looked into overnight oats recipes. I definitely like that.

4. The orange puff pastry we ate with our coffee for King’s day on Monday.

5. Getting crunchy muesli for breakfast. It took the staff some time before we found the right one, the one with four kinds of nuts and crunchy muesli, not granola. Yes, I’m picky like that.

6. My teddy bear getting washed. I thought it’d gotten a hole in its fur, but it turned out to be just dirty. After I finish this blog post, I’m going to cuddle up with it in my bed.

7. My computer. I’m really enjoying using it. I know, I’ve had it for ten months already, but up till this week almost always chose my phone to do most things on. I’m now actually loving writing this post in good ol’ Notepad.

8. Having finished the #AtoZChallenge. I’m definitely proud of myself for actually getting it all done.

9. Keeping my writing mojo now that the challenge is over with. I don’t know for how long I’ll be motivated to keep writing, but we’ll see.

10. Being more alert in general. Okay, I think I may be a little overalert, but then again that’s a lot better than being tired and depressed.

What have you been thankful for lately?

Gratitude: Counting Your Blessings #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter G post In the #AtoZChallenge. Today I want to talk about gratitude. Making a habit out of noticing what you have, can be very helpful for your mental health. Like most other self-care activities, it may be hard to do when you’re feeling low, so I recommend you start practising gratitude when you’re in a good or at least okay place. Then it will come more naturally when you’re feeling low.

On this blog, I aim to write gratitude lists regularly. These are usually lists of things I’ve been grateful for in the past week or so. However, you can also write a general gratitude list that lists things that are positive about your life. Such a list can look something like this:

  1. I am thankful for my physical health.
  2. I am thankful for my husband.
  3. I am thankful I have a home in the care facility I can feel safe in.
  4. I am thankful I am financially secure.
  5. I am thankful for my medication.

You can aim for a certain number of gratefuls, such as ten in the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) blog hop. I have done other types of posts of this kind on this blog and older blogs. Examples include 99 things I like, 20 things I’m grateful for in life, etc.

However, when you’re feeling low, it may help to just write what you’re thankful for and not set a specific number you must reach. After all, that might create stress that you do not need right now.

Another form of expressing gratitude is the thankful letter. You can write thankful letters to people you’re grateful for in real life and actually send or give them to said person. However, you can also write thankful letters to things or situations.

A variation to this theme is the love letter. Of course, it may be good to write a love letter to your significant other, but again you can write love letters to anything.

If you don’t write gratitude lists or thank you letters, there are other ways of counting your blessings. Saying to yourself or aloud to someone else that you’re grateful for something, may be enough.

How do you express gratitude?

Ten Things That Make Me Happy Tag

I love to write positive posts. Earlier today, carol anne of Therapy Bits tagged her readers for the “Ten Things That Make Me Happy” tag. She didn’t tag any specific people, but invited all of us to participate. I am eager to jump at the opportunity. Here are the rules:


  1. List 10 things that make you happy. (Linking to them, sharing pictures, writing poems about them, telling jokes, etc. are all encouraged but not required.)

  2. Tag 10 people who make you happy (and notify them of their tag).

Here are the ten things that make me happy.

1. My husband. Okay, I’ve said before that I shouldn’t include him as he isn’t a thing, but the tag didn’t specify things as objects. I really miss him right now that we’re in self-isolation.

2. Barry. If I’m going to include sentient beings anyway, I have to also say that my husband’s and my cat makes me happy. He is so mischievous at times! I love to hear him meow through the speaker of my phone when I call my husband.

3. My blog. I’m so happy to still be able to write on here. I also love to engage with my readers. On my old blog and for a while on here too, I didn’t use to reply to most comments. Now I feel positive about interacting with almost every single comment.

4. The Internet. Do I really need to explain? Without it, I wouldn’t have my blog. I would most likely have a journal, but that wouldn’t provide me with the connections I find online.

5. My computer and iPhone. My iPhone SE is nearly three years old and thankfully still works. I was planning on buying a new one within the next six months or so, but that depended on the release of new models. Now that the COVID-19 crisis is upon us, I assume Apple skipped this month’s educational event and hopefully they’ll still allow the SE to upgrade to iOS 14 when it comes. In any case, I’m so happy both the iPhone and my computer, that I got about nine months ago, are still working mostly as they should be.

6. Sensory activities. Like I said a few days ago, the staff created a makeshift sensory room in a currently empty bedroom now that we can’t access the sensory room at day activities. Many clients love it and so do I. I also love relaxing in my recliner with some essential oil in my oil diffuser and some relaxing music playing on Spotify.

7. Books. I love reading! I don’t do it as much as I had originally thought I would during this time of self-isolation, but I still make sure I read some almost every day. My favorite genres are memoirs and young adult fiction about real issues, but I also love to read books in many other genres at times.

8. Exercise. I love to walk, but as of late I’ve really developed a love for going on the elliptical too. When I still lived with my husband, I also went swimming and horseback riding regularly. It’s sad I cannot do those anymore now.

9. Nice, sunny weather. I’m so glad we’re headed towards spring and summer.

10. My stuffed animals. The littles just had me say that. I sleep with at least one soft toy in my arms each night. I have a few specific soft toys I love, like the bear I sleep with most nights, the large panda bear, the weighted unicorn and the microwave-safe, lavender-filled sensory kitty.

I’m not going to tag any specific bloggers either, but if you read this, do consider yourself tagged.

Thankful Thursday (March 26, 2020): My Staff’s Approach to a Meltdown

Today I’m having a really hard day. I found out this morning that my husband is not allowed to visit me for the duration of the COVID-19 situation. Only in exceptional cases such as when you’re terminally ill can you have a visitor. Well, I guess I’m grateful I’m not in that situation.

During this time of day activities at the home and the chaotic situation that ensues, I’m struggling a lot with basic mistrust. As I explained to my staff, including the behavior specialist, some weeks ago, I’m finding that I experience a lot of distress due to past trauma. I’m pretty sure I suffer with significant attachment issues and am acting those out towards the staff now that I’m beginning to feel slightly safe. I mean, there’s a part of me who says that if the staff truly know me, they’ll kick me out of here or abandon me in some other way. I guess this part is giving the staff a hard time because they’ll ultimately abandon me anyway so I’d better push them away first.

As such, this afternoon, I had a major meltdown. I was watching a video on the Center for Consultation and Expertise website about a man with mild intellectual disability who had a lot of challenging behavior. The way in which I could relate to him, triggered me. I tried to tell my staff, but couldn’t and then I threw a glass to the ground.

Now here comes the reason I prefixed this post with Thankful Thursday: my staff were amazing about it!

My assigned support worker, who happened to work on my side of the home today, called another home for a staff to come over. This was a staff who had also worked in my home previously. She hugged me and took me to my room to talk while my assigned staff cleaned the mess.

This did further trigger me, but it was a good trigger. I mean, in the psychiatric hospital I would’ve been secluded or kicked off the unit and basically abandoned. I had tears of gratitude and sadness at the same time because of how lovely my staff handled this situation. My assigned staff even said maybe we should watch the video together sometime so that I could point out in which ways I relate.

Now here’s hoping my behavior won’t escalate further. After all, then I may in fact be abandoned. My inner critic still says that I’m making up all the factors behind my challenging behavior and it’s all just attention-seeking and abandonment is exactly what I deserve. Regardless, I’m so extremely grateful for my staff!

Gratitude List (March 20, 2020) #TToT

It’s Friday and that means the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linkup is open again. I haven’t participated in a while, but in these weird times, we need gratitude more than ever. Here are the things I’ve been thankful for lately.

1. Relatively tasty dinners. Here at the care facility, we get our dinners from a meal delivery company. Last week or the week before, I complained that we got boiled potatoes like four times a week and that I’d like rice, pasta or the like more often. Thankfully they customize the meals for each resident, so it’s not like if I want pasta, everyone gets pasta. I think my assigned staff told the company. In any case, I’ve had pretty varied meals lately. On Saturday, we got tuna macaroni and I loved it!

2. The sensory room. The real one at the day center and the makeshift one at the home. The day center was still open on Monday and Tuesday, so I was able to use the snoezelen® room then. On Thursday, some of the staff created a makeshift sensory room in the currently empty bedroom at our home.

3. Walking. Yay, we’re not in complete lockdown (yet)! I’ve been grateful for walks often before, but in these weird times, I get to appreciate it even more. I managed to get over 9000 steps everyday this week so far except for today (and I’m not going to make it today either).

4. Getting day activities at the home. I was a little scared that, once the day center closed, we’d get no activities at all. Thankfully, that’s not true. I brought some games from the day center to the home with me and we have enough staff to do activities with us.

5. Going on the elliptical. I went on Tuesday, thinking I wouldn’t be able to use it for three weeks after that. However, two staff members transferred the elliptical to the empty room in our home, so that it’s now a combined sensory and gym room. I went on it for like 20 minutes yesterday.

6. Modern technology. I’m so glad this pandemic is happening now that we have the Internet and smartphones and the like. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to connect to my husband, my family or the wider community at all. I’m so happy this thing does connect us all in a weird kind of way.

7. Meditation. I use an app called Insight Timer on my phone for meditating, but I hadn’t used it in a while. Then I checked it out and saw they have a whole section devoted to overcoming fear in these weird times. I loved listening to some guided meditations.

8. A phone appt with my CPN from mental health. We had a pretty good session. We actually did get started on some cognitive behavior therapy like we were planning on. She’s also going to get me signed up for the eHealth module with the agency.

9. My husband. Yesterday I was suddenly overcome with fear that I’d never see my husband again or that he’d want to divorce me due to our inability to be together in this crisis. My husband reassured me that I won’t lose him. He’s so lovely!

10. My health. I almost forgot that this thing is about a viral disease that takes actual lives. I so far haven’t had symptoms of COVID-19, but I’m confident that when (yes, it’s most likely a “when”) I do get the disease, I’ll survive.

What have you been grateful for lately?

#AutisticBliss Is…

A few days ago, I came across a discussion on Twitter with the hashtag of #AutisticBliss. I don’t follow many autistic bloggers, so I cannot be sure the conversation has been taken over to WordPress yet. Regardless, I wanted to write a blog post in contribution to the topic. Here are a few things I consider sincere bliss as an autistic person.

1. The sensory room at the day center. I mentioned this in my Twitter reply too. Back when I was trying to prepare for leaving the mental hospital in 2017, I asked my psychologist whether I could try out snoezelen® at the intellectual disability unit. She said I couldn’t, as it is only offered to people with severe intellectual disability. I’m so extremely grateful I ended up attending a day center for people with intellectual disability once kicked out of the hospital. Ever since, I’ve come to very much enjoy the sensory room.

2. My own sensory equipment in my room. When at my first day center after leaving the psych hospital, I discovered an online sensory equipment store while looking for birthday presents for myself. I currently own two lavender-filled, microwave-safe soft toys from that store, one in my room at the care facility and one in our house in Lobith. I also have a lot of soft toys that aren’t specifically sensory. I enjoy my exercise ball too, as well as my essential oil diffuser.

3. Being able to hyperfocus on my special interests. One of the main autistic characteristics I love about myself is my ability to perseverate. I love it when I’m in hyperfocus mode and actually have an interest I’m passionate about.

4. Being able to collect things, particularly if they’re cheap or free. For example, I have at least a dozen books of journaling prompts on my phone. Most were free either on Kindle or in Apple Books. Now that I am more money-conscious than I used to be, I no longer spend as much on my special interest du jour. However, I really love collecting free stuff.

5. Stimming. Especially if I’m happy. Stims were often so discouraged that I struggle to find ones I can engage in for fun, but when I can, that’s utter bliss.

6. Having found my tribe. I love being part of the autistic community. It helps me feel that I belong somewhere.

What surprising aspect of life do you find is utter bliss?

Gratitude List (February 8, 2020) #TToT

It’s Saturday and I haven’t published a blog post in a few days. Today I am bored and slightly depressed, so I thought I’d join in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) to lift up my mood.

1. Soap making. On Sunday, I asked my husband to sort through my soaping supplies. He didn’t need to though, as the essentials were all in a wheeled shopping bag. My mother-in-law took me back to the facility on Sunday evening, so she put the entire thing in the back of her car and helped me get it inside. I took it to day activities on Monday and have been making soap a few times this past week already.

2. Ordering new supplies. I didn’t have a lot of soap base in the bag, so I had an excuse to order new soaping supplies. Besides new soap base, I ordered bath bomb and bath salt making supplies. I never made bath bombs or bath salts before. I am really excited to try.

3. The cooking activity at day activities. I used to do a simple cooking activity with the staff intern on Wednesday. Now that her schedule has changed, we do it on Tuesday. This past Tuesday, we in fact had ingredients for two recipes: ham and cheese sandwiches and a creamy cookie dessert. The reason is that last week, we didn’t do the cooking activity because I had a meeting with the behavior specialist then. The intern had time to help me with both. We ate the sandwiches for lunch and had the cookie dessert later in the afternoon. It was extra gratifying, as the clients on my side of my day activities group can’t have sandwiches due to swallowing issues, but most can have the dessert. We served the sandwiches to the other side and I actually had both.

4. My weight. I got weighed in on Wednesday and I had a small gain of 200 grams (less than half a pound). I attribute that to all the treats I had on Tuesday though. I’m also happy, because people actually notice that I’m skinnier (or rather, less fat, of course) than I used to be.

5. Some long’ish walks. I mean, no, I don’t walk for an hour like I used to at my old day activities and with my home support staff, but I did have some walks of about half an hour. Despite not having walked in the evenings much this past week, I did manage to get to 175 active minutes.

6. The support from my assigned staff. I was somewhat distressed this past week, as I’m still not fully recovered from the meltdowns I had last week. However, my support staff are all very helpful.

Like, yesterday I had a meeting with my nurse from the mental health agency. When I explained my difficulty coping with the noise at day activities, she started to suggest I move to an apartment building for autistic people and occupy myself there or go work at a sheltered workshop. This isn’t suitable and my staff helped me explain this to my nurse.

7. French fries and ice cream. My husband said on Thursday that he couldn’t come by for a long visit today but could take me out to have some fries and a snack for dinner. Today, he canceled. Of course, I miss my husband, but I didn’t miss the fries, as my staff thought it’d be a good idea to order fries and snacks for the entire home. We also had ice cream, which was still left over in the freezer from Christmas. I had the last serving of whipped cream-flavored ice cream.

I can’t get to ten, but I’m definitely in a brighter mood now. I guess that should be my eighth grateful on this list. What have you been grateful for lately?